NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The Joint Hawaii Culinary Arts Team scored a gold medal win for the Cold Food Layout category at the 2018 Cook. Craft. Create. American Culinary Federation (ACF) National Convention and Show in New Orleans, La., July 15-19.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Shemika Harris, Theater Food Advisor for the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, led the team during the competition, and she was also presented the Spirit of Aloha award by the ACF for her outstanding contributions to the food service community.

Team Hawaii had a successful and historic run in the culinary arts competition arena, winning four years in a row at the Joint Culinary Training Exercise and Competition in Fort Lee, Va., being recognized as the top military chefs.

"The team has been successful because of the phenomenal support that we have received from the various commands," said Harris. "The Soldiers on the team are dedicated and spend countless hours training in order to perfect their craft."

What's next for Team Hawaii? -- competing in the Culinary World Cup Competition in Luxembourg, Nov. 23-29 as they vie for the top cold- and hot- food categories.

Their train up for the World Cup competition begins in August, and it will be intense.

"In order to prepare for the competition, Joint Team Hawaii uses one of the greatest methods when it comes to progressive learning; repetition, repetition and some more repetition," said Spc. Ryan Salazar, a food service specialist assigned to the 25th Infantry Division and a member of Team Hawaii since October 2017.

"We strive to work hard, but we never keep out of mind that the sacrifice and dedication that we put into our product must always reflect within our goal meant to achieve; Gold," said Salazar.